Come January, most people I know make fitness resolutions and vow to hit the gym. My husband has his gym code taped to the fridge “just in case” he gets the urge. It has hung there like an albatross around his neck for six years.
Thankfully the gym resolution isn’t one I have to make… because I’m already committed. Why? Is it because I need that time to myself? Because I’m deeply vain?
Well, yes, but more importantly, because there’s a woman with a six-pack of muscle and enthusiasm that even Tony Horton would envy. Her name is Jodie Kofod and she kicks my butt every Tuesday and Thursday morning. I don’t know what would happen if I didn’t show up (beyond transforming into a manatee). But one thing is for sure – I don’t want to disappoint her.
My Trainer, My Love
To call her my trainer is a little like referring to the woman at the Wendy’s drive-thru as my personal chef. I have no ownership over Jodie; she belongs to anyone willing to step foot into her class at the YMCA, aptly titled “Iron Bodies.” I do not have an iron body, but for the past six years I’ve been steadily developing an aluminum body – a measurement determined by the fact that my inner thighs no longer touch (by a hair’s width, but I swear I see daylight).
Over the years, Iron Bodies has become a permanent fixture in my life. It’s a non-negotiable 75-minute appointment between my metabolism and me. I run on the other days, fueled by the fact that I’m going to spend two and a half hours a week standing in front of a wall of mirrors, lunging, squatting and planking my well to a buildup of lactic acid.
It’s Not (Entirely) About the Burn – or the Buns
The workout is kind of beside the point. I truly enjoy the gym goers in the class – mostly stay-at-home moms working to transform the muffin top into a MILF top. They accept me in my sleep-deprived, pre-concealer state. We’ve seen each other at our worst – post-baby, divorce, illness and loss – and at our best (albeit sometimes post-surgery). No one is too cool for fitness school. I’ve seen shorts rip, thongs exposed and bands snapped. If I don’t show up for class without excusing myself on Facebook the night before, my phone blows up with texts. I attend to my backside, but these girls got my back. Even the ladies in the childcare center still ask about my daughter’s stuffed monkey “Muh,” as if calling on a sick uncle. Most family members aren’t this nice.
But the true source of inspiration to get up twice a week and look like a dying cockroach while performing R-rated inner thigh moves, is Jodie herself. Coffee and Red Bull course through her veins. She shouts when she talks and shakes when she tries to stand still, her body unsure of why she’s resting between sets. She has never had an off day, or maybe her off days just look a lot better than mine. She gives 110% to a roomful of half-asleep, middle-aged women (and one token male). As she screams “Wooooooo!” and explodes into a series of one-armed pushups, we stare at her in vacant wonder; we’re just trying to keep our faces from colliding with the floor.
Jodie is one of the most intimidating and inspiring people I’ve ever met. She’s intimidating because her small frame can barely contain her super-sized personality and because she could crack walnuts between her butt cheeks. She’s inspiring because she cares so much for the health and wellbeing of everyone around her. She gives so much of herself to her work, son, husband, church and even her St. Bernard. Spend just a couple of minutes getting to know her and you’ll discover that her iron body is really just the exoskeleton to a very soft and sensitive center. (Me, on the other hand, I’m all endoskeleton.)
Good trainers, like good schoolteachers, don’t get enough credit. They endure our sudden water breaks (always during pushups) and our complaints about how we aren’t losing weight (as we wield 2-pound weights and gnaw on 750-calorie energy bars). And here we are getting so much in return from their commitment to us. If you have a Jodie in your life, be sure to thank her for making fitness one less thing to commit to in 2012, ‘cause you’re already there.
As for me, I’ll again refocus on eating healthier. Now, about that lady at Wendy’s . . .